How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near Fort Payne Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Fort PayneAL, you may be wondering how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Fort Payne AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Fort Payne AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Fort Payne AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Fort Payne pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Fort Payne AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Fort Payne AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Fort Payne residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Fort Payne AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Fort Payne Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Fort Payne AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Fort Payne AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Fort Payne Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Fort Payne Alabama.